By Reginald Tucker Las Vegas – Even before current shipping problems were fueling backlogs in the supply of many rigid core products, industry observers had already begun to gauge a renewed interest in the laminate flooring category, especially homegrown products . That resurgent popularity, observers say, is due in large part to continued innovations in the form of more realistic images and textures, coupled with performance improvements designed to improve laminates’ resistance to moisture ingress.
Concrete examples of those innovations and improvements were on full display earlier this month at Surfaces 2021, as several of the big names in laminate showed their commitment to the category by using technology to get retailers excited about laminate again.
A prime example of this is Mohawk, which builds on the success of the RevWood family of laminate products and the Pergo brand’s laminate offerings. Within the RevWood offering, for example, the Bellente line was a standout on the show. Built on a 3⁄8-inch platform, the product features contemporary, modern oak that reflects the same trends that drive real wood sales. “Bellente hits those natural, whitewashed looks that are popular with today’s consumers,” said Adam Ward, senior product director of hardwoods and laminates. “In addition, the surface texture is great and the GenuEdge chamfer draws the consumer’s attention to the product.”
Mohawk also put the spotlight on its Pergo Elements line, which debuts in two collections: Pergo Originals and Pergo Preferred. Unlike RevWood, all Pergo laminated wood products offer an attached pad plus ActiveFresh antimicrobial protection, which is built into the product’s wear layer. Pergo Preferred products also feature GenuEdge technology, which not only provides a more realistic aesthetic, but also a tighter fit. “Display orders are tracking well for both laminate lines,” Ward said. “We have had very good orders.”
Other suppliers/importers are investing heavily in laminate products. For example, Lions Floor, which primarily plays in the rigid core/SPC category, is also investing significant investments in improving the visual and performance aspects of the category. “While our primary focus is SPC, we realize that there is still a strong market for laminate flooring,” said Jerry Guo, president. “Not only is it a durable product, it can also reduce unevenness in the subfloor. It is a stable material.”
Lions Floor has worked closely with its supplier partners in Asia to devise ways to improve the product’s resistance to moisture. The company is confident that the resulting product will be a game-changer for the category. “We are working with our supplier on a 1.8m laminate product that, after being submerged in water for 90 hours, will not absorb moisture in the core itself,” Guo said. FCNews. “We see a big market opening up for this kind of technology.”
More importantly, he said he expects this new innovation to translate into a product that will offer retailers higher margins. “Traditionally, laminates have offered very low margins for retailers,” he said. “But we believe there are still big gains to be made in this category. And if we introduce the waterproof feature – along with realistic colors and designs – it will create a window for laminate to shine in.”